2016: Petrogenesis and 40Ar/39Ar dating of proto-forearc crust in the Early Cretaceous Caribbean arc: The La Tinta mélange (eastern Cuba) and its easterly correlation in Hispaniola

Petrogenesis and 40Ar/39Ar dating of proto-forearc crust in the Early Cretaceous Caribbean arc: The La Tinta mélange (eastern Cuba) and its easterly correlation in Hispaniola

Abstract

The La Tinta mélange is a small but singular ultramafic mélange sheet that crops out in eastern Cuba. It is composed of dolerite-derived amphibolite blocks embedded in a serpentinite matrix. The amphibolite blocks have mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB)-like composition showing little if any imprint of subduction zone component, similar to most forearc and MOR basalts worldwide. Relict Cr-spinel and olivine mineral chemistry of the serpentinized ultramafic matrix suggest a forearc position for these rocks. These characteristics, together with a hornblende 40Ar/39Ar age of 123.2 ± 2.2 Ma from one of the amphibolite blocks, suggest that the protoliths of the amphibolite blocks correspond to forearc basalt (FAB)-related rocks that formed during the earlier stage of subduction initiation of the Early Cretaceous Caribbean arc. We propose that the La Tinta amphibolites correspond to fragments of sills and dikes of hypoabyssal rocks formed in the earlier stages of a subduction initiation scenario in the Pacific realm (ca. 136 Ma). The forearc dolerite-derived amphibolites formed by partial melting of upwelling fertile asthenosphere at the beginning of subduction of the Proto-Caribbean (Atlantic) slab, with no interaction with slab-derived fluids/melts. This magmatic episode probably correlates with Early Cretaceous basic rocks described in Hispaniola (Gaspar Hernandez serpentinized peridotite-tectonite). The dikes and sills cooled and metamorphosed due to hydration at low pressure (ca. 3.8 kbar) and medium to high temperature (up to 720ºC) and reached ca. 500ºC at ca. 123 Ma. At this cooling stage, serpentinite formed after hydration of the ultramafic upper mantle. This process might have been favoured by faulting during extension of the forearc, indicating an early stage of dike and sill fragmentation and serpentinite mélanges formation; however, full development of the mélange likely took place during tectonic emplacement (obduction) onto the thrust belt of eastern Cuba during the latest Cretaceous.

Keywords: Serpentinite mélange; amphibolite; 40Ar/39Ar dating; Caribbean arc; eastern Cuba; forearc basalts

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To Cite this article:  Lázaro, C., Blanco-Quintero, I.F., Proenza, J.A., Rojas-Agramonte, Y., Neubauer, F., Núñez-Cambra, K., Garcia-Casco, A. (2016): Petrogenesis and 40Ar/39Ar dating of proto-forearc crust in the Early Cretaceous Caribbean arc: The La Tinta mélange (eastern Cuba) and its easterly correlation in Hispaniola. International Geology Review, 58, 1020-1040.

DOI: 10.1080/00206814.2015.1118647

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